Recording - April 2016 - 26

Interview by Mike Metlay * Photos by David McKay and Nick Sharples

Timothy Drury is in demand all over the entertainment world. A
proficient keyboardist and guitarist, he's toured with the Eagles
(and members Don Henley, Don Felder, and Joe Walsh as
soloists), Whitesnake, Bryan Adams, Stevie Nicks, and Melissa
Etheridge. He's cowritten tracks with Henley, Nicks, Felder, and
Tommy Shaw of Styx, among many others. He's also done music
library work, film and TV, online media, and commercials, and
taken time to create a unique music/visual solo act that's
received rave reviews around the world.
In this interview, we got some worthwhile insights on what it takes
for a budding songwriter to make it in the modern world.-MM
Can you tell us a little bit about some of your current projects?
Timothy Drury: I'm starting to get some traction with this
intermedia performance that I do. I combine my composing
and keyboard performance with my visual imagery: photographs that I've captured, videos. I put it all together in Final
Cut and Logic and project the imagery onto a cube-shaped
frame, an 8' x 8' cube of sheer fabric. I'm inside the cube
playing my keyboards while I project my images from behind,
the whole cube exploding with images.
I've performed at some Apple-sponsored events, and at MIT's
New Media Lab a few years ago, and a ten-day residency at the
University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia. What I do seems
to be appealing to academics and to events where there's this
union of the arts and technology. I seem to fit in nicely with that.
Do you do a lot of work for film or TV?
From time to time, I'll get a call from an ad agency or a
music house. There's a lot of spec things that happen; they pay
you your fee to do some pretty quick and tight spec work, and
sometimes the client goes with it.
Certainly there are still people making a good deal of money
as songwriters, there's no question about that. But for people trying to get into it, amateurs at the low to mid-level, it's very difficult to make a significant amount of money... unless you do a
ton of different things at the same time. Writing for TV, for cable,
writing short films, answering every call for tracks from music
houses that are looking to expand their libraries.
Do the best you can to network, of course. Talk to your friends
and colleagues, really use the community... because that's
always going to create more energy. You have to write, you
have to perform, you have to be an artist, you have to be a traveler, you have to do a lot of different things to make a living. It's
a cocktail of passion, courage, patience, and some insanity.
So the secret is to be out there and make yourself available,
and to realize that pretty much any opportunity that comes
your way could be "the" opportunity.
Absolutely. You have to look at all of it, for sure. Don't be
too picky-take a look at everything and just eat it all up as
26

RECORDING April 2016

much as you can. And when you're young, that's kind of what
you do, isn't it? Don't you just kind of eat up the scenery and
eat up life and enjoy it? You should.
Do you primarily consider yourself a songwriter these days?
In the beginning, I considered myself a keyboard performer
first and foremost. Then I got a publishing deal at WarnerChappell for a few years and I was able to hone the craft of
writing and collaborating, so for a while I was a songwriter who
toured all the time. Then I got a camera to pass the time on tour,
and I got good at photography, thanks to thousands of rolls of
film. Eventually processing and printing my own work, which
ended up in galleries... and suddenly I'm a photographer who
tours! [laughs] Over time it all came together and now I can't
put a label on myself any more. Which may be why I succeed.
Let's talk about songwriting. How do you like to capture
your ideas when they are brand new, and how do you like
to develop them into things that you can shop around?
If inspiration comes in the middle of the night, I grab a voice
recorder or my phone so it doesn't get away. One time on tour
in Poland, I woke up and ran down to the lobby of my hotel to
videotape myself playing their piano! [laughs] In the studio, I
will open Logic and grab tracks with my guitar or keyboard.
My studios at home have always been either part of my living room, or a spare bedroom-usually the center of my
world, other than the kitchen. I love cooking almost as much
as playing! I use an iMac for the heavy lifting when making
content in Logic and Final Cut Pro X. I'm still using my MOTU
828 MkII as my studio interface. For my live intermedia performances, I use a MacBook Pro 13" Retina running Mac OS X
Yosemite with a Resident Audio T4 Thunderbolt audio interface
to host Logic, and a much older MacBook Pro 17" running
Mac OS X Leopard to send the video content to the projector.
I like writing on the guitar, because I'm not as constrained
by my technical training as I am on the piano, which can kind
of funnel you into the same sort of places if you're not careful.
On the guitar it's easier to make some happy mistakes or accidents happen. But I love keyboards; I love it when a sound
from Ivory (synthogy.com) or Omnisphere (spectrasonics.net)
makes me want to write something. Those sounds are so fun
and buttery and sexy to play-and automatically, without
much ado, that will create its own energy.
Do you songwrite while touring?
If I'm on the road, I've gotta say it's incredibly rare for me to
actually flesh songs out... with one exception. When I was
writing the songs for Don Felder's latest record that he
released a couple of years ago, I got snowed in, in a hotel in
South Lake Tahoe. There was a stretch of a few days where I
was stuck indoors. I had an M-Audio keyboard, a laptop, and
my Line 6 Variax acoustic guitar, and I was able to actually


http://www.synthogy.com http://www.spectrasonics.net

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Recording - April 2016

Contents
Recording - April 2016 - Intro
Recording - April 2016 - Cover1
Recording - April 2016 - Cover2
Recording - April 2016 - 1
Recording - April 2016 - 2
Recording - April 2016 - 3
Recording - April 2016 - 4
Recording - April 2016 - 5
Recording - April 2016 - Contents
Recording - April 2016 - 7
Recording - April 2016 - 8
Recording - April 2016 - 9
Recording - April 2016 - 10
Recording - April 2016 - 11
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Recording - April 2016 - 13
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Recording - April 2016 - Cover3
Recording - April 2016 - Cover4
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